(2017) Mother!

I caught the first showing of this today at 11am and it’s been on my mind ever since. It sometimes baffles me how reviewers can exclaim a film to be meaningless when I just got so much out of it, seemingly too much to even fully comprehend through a single viewing.

Mother! is an incredibly conscientious statement on the nature of humanity, steeped in religious allegory. Unfortunately, it’s likely to fall on deaf ears for many, given that Aronofsky’s message isn’t exactly spelled out. I don’t mean that in a pretentious way, the film just works through such a slow burn, which isn’t always the best way to feed the impatient.

The last 30 min or so makes up for any weariness over the pacing. It’s one of the most intense, impressive sequences I’ve seen in a horror film in the last decade. The absolute perfect icing on the cake for what is such a masterful dip into surrealism.

I don’t believe Mother! is for the casual moviegoer. However, if you’re willing to keep an open mind and devote your full attention, you may just treat yourself to one of the best horror films of 2017.

9.5/10

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(1968) Hour of the Wolf

I’m absolutely blown away and as much as I’d like to take a day to digest this, there’s just so much going on here that I feel the need to get out what I can immediately.

Hour of the Wolf is a top to bottom, beautifully produced psychological, surrealist nightmare. The first half of the film is fueled by pure intrigue through the perplexity of events that unfold. Like most surrealist films, a portion of your attention is devoted to figuring out what’s real and what isn’t. To speak to that aspect specifically, not a whole lot is left to the imagination, at least through my interpretation. I definitely feel like this inspired filmmakers like David Lynch to push some of those boundaries, eliminating the extra explanation and leaving more up to the viewers interpretations.

The ending itself was just so fucking enthralling and I’m sorry for tossing out overused buzz words but I really mean enthralling. The last half hour was watched literally mouth agape, hands on my face. I couldn’t believe what this film was evolving into, or at least I was most certainly not expecting it.

I’m sure there’s a few, well thought out explanations of the meaning of this film but I’m satisfied enough with my own. I encourage anyone who hasn’t seen this to not look up anything, if you’re reading this, you already know too much!

9.5/10

(2003) Dreamcatcher

I think Dreamcatcher is successful in that, it kept me fairly entertained for the entire 2+ hour run time. Unfortunately, looking at it from a critical aspect and taking into account what the writers and directors were trying to do, it fell somewhat flat.

This film is a really tough one to review because there’s just so much going on. I think it starts really strong with an interesting platform of telepathy and sets the stage for what could have been a great mystery to piece together. Somewhere along the way though, it just goes full on Independence Day.

This basically wasn’t what I personally wanted but it’s not terrible for what it is. There’s an odd mix of sort of child-geared sci-fi that I can’t get behind but I still maintain it to be an enjoyable watch.

6/10

(2008) 4bia

This was a fairly solid anthology but looking back as early as 2008 tells me the tricks pulled here weren’t anything new. With that being said, that criticism isn’t blanketed over all four parts.

Part two is very strange but somewhat unique. It has tons of black magic and I wasn’t expecting them to take it as far as they did. However, the shaky cam does get annoying and the CGI effects leave something to be desired.

I won’t go into detail about the other segments but they’re all pretty fun and work well as shorts. I’m a sucker for anthologies and this did sort of scratch the itch in that department. I’m looking forward to seeing the sequel.

6/10

(2017) It Comes at Night

I encourage everyone not to read this review before seeing the film. I’ll obviously do my best not reveal any spoilers but to me, everything is a spoiler when it comes to this one.

I’m almost finished with my year of horror movies, 4 more to go I believe but this one may have surprised me the most. First off, the marketing for it was excellent and frankly, everywhere. All of the sudden I HAD to see this film despite knowing nothing about the plot. Take fucking notes people, this is exactly what the film community wants. It revealed just enough to get our interest and the rest left as mystery.

The acting is superb, all of it. It’s so immersive that I didn’t even consider the acting once while I was watching it. They made the scenario they conjured up, about as realistic as possible.

This just wasn’t what I was expecting and this entire project has almost come full circle to mock me. The film took everything I’ve come to know about horror movies in general and tossed them out of the window. All my preconceived notions, real time predictions and plot pattern awareness were voided.

I’m psyched to see this getting the recognition it deserves but I’m also somewhat surprised that most people are finding any value in it. It’s a great film though and one that everyone should see in its entirety.

9.5/10

 

(2003) Identity

It’s going to be nearly impossible to say anything worthwhile about this film without spoiling it.

John Cusack, Ray Liotta and Amanda Peet all give some great performances. The atmosphere is really uniquely rigid as well as the characters being a bit too confined to their stereotypes so-to-speak. I don’t mean they’re necessarily campy, just delightfully strange, enough to get you wondering what the fuck is going on.

The last 30 minutes is just a non-stop- um, shit, I can’t even think of any adjectives that won’t ruin it. Just give this one a watch, it’s packed full of great mystery and it’s really intense.

8/10

(2000) Fail Safe

Another TV movie but with the billed cast, you wouldn’t even know it. Everything George Clooney does is fantastic, incredible actor. So is Don Cheadle, their chemistry is admirable.

Fail Safe basically all takes place in one room, which is something I have grown to love over the years. It really forces filmmakers to have to tell a good story in a creative way.

This is a Cold War film made in 2000 but some of the military mechanics felt almost like science fiction. It added another layer that I wasn’t expecting.

It’s really well paced and almost always tense. The ending really drives that home, seriously dark. My only one partial complaint might be (and I’m not even sure about this) the final frame. It feels both chilling and ever-so-slightly goofy.

Anyways, definitely check this one out if you’ve been following along this month and enjoy these Cold War TV movies.

7/10